Revelation Fruit Tree
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84. Revelation Fruit Tree
Revelation 22.1-2b

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." (Revelation 22.1-2b)

Garden of Eden

Garden of EdenThe Revelation fruit tree reminds us of the "Tree of Life" in the "Garden of Eden" which is also called the "Garden of God." In Genesis 2.8-9 we read, "Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden, and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground, trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the 'Tree of Life' and the 'Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.'" Another reference to the Garden of Eden appears in Ezekiel 31.8-9, when the prophet describes, "Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest." Ezekiel writes, "The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the junipers equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches — no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the Garden of God."

Fruitful and Well-Watered

The Arabic root for the name "Eden" means, "fruitful" or "well-watered." This description ties in nicely with the "Revelation fruit tree" and the "Tree of Life." After Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God by eating from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil", they are forbidden from eating from "The Tree of Life" which grows alongside it. They are denied eternal life as long as they are under sin's control.

World Tree

"The Tree of Life" may also be related to an ancient belief in the "World Tree." This mythical "World Tree" represents a huge tree which is believed to support the heavens and thereby connect the heavens, the Earth and the underworld by its branches and roots. However, here in Revelation 22, residents of the garden can eat freely from the new "Tree of Life", because sin's control over them is destroyed and their eternity with God is secure through Jesus Christ. Those who eat from "The Tree of Life" will live forever.

Genesis Paradise

GenesisThe Book of Revelation closes off human history in Paradise as the Book of Genesis opens it there. But there is one distinct difference in Revelation in that all evil is gone forever. Paradise from the Persian for "paradise garden" is a place of "timeless harmony" which is an apt description of the perfection before The Fall. This harmony will be restored in the World to come. Genesis describes Adam and Eve walking and talking with God. Revelation speaks of believers worshipping God face to face. What a wonder that will be!✞

Evil Gone

ParadiseGenesis pictures a garden with an evil serpent. The deceptive Satan suggests that what God declares as evil is good. It is the first instance of "fake news!" Genesis 3.1 reads, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden?"'" Revelation, in contrast, portrays paradise as a perfect place with no evil whatsoever. Here are gardens to delight the eye and the "Tree of Life" to nourish the people of God. The Garden of Eden is destroyed by sin, but Revelation envisions a better and more perfect Garden of Eden re-created in the New Jerusalem in Heaven.

Healing Leaves

Healing LeavesFlowing water of life pours out from the throne of God down the great street of the New Jerusalem. The Tree of Life grows there producing healing leaves and food for the nations. The flowing water of life is a symbol of eternity. Jesus uses this image in John 4.14 when he says to the Samaritan Woman, "whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Jesus today offers us fullness of life with God and enables our spiritual thirst to be completely satisfied.

Miracle Mineral Water

Man on the Dead SeaI am reminded of the miracle mineral waters of the Dead Sea which sustains a person physically. When they give up struggling the water itself miraculously supports them. This is a picture of our faith supporting us when we trust in God. A man is walking along the shore of the Dead Sea which at 394 meters below sea level is the World's lowest point. Losing his balance, he falls headlong into the lake. Not being able to swim, he thrashes his arms around and shouts for help for all he is worth. But not a soul is in sight, and he thinks that he is finished. He splashes and paddles as best he can but as time goes by he eventually tires. At last, he can manage it no more and he resigns himself to a watery grave. Then, the miracle of miracles, as he relaxes he finds that he isn't sinking after all! The mineral-laden water is so full of natural salts that his body bobs to the surface. All he had to do was to let go and relax! In the service of the Lord God, all we need to discover is how to relax and to trust him completely like the miracle mineral water. When God's Son, Jesus Christ, lives and reigns in our hearts we can know for sure that he will not fail us if we only will give him a chance and trust him. The question has been asked, why would the nations in Revelation need to be healed if all evil in heaven is gone? John of Patmos is here alluding to Ezekiel 47.12 where the prophet writes, "fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." The fruit is for "for food," and the water of life from the Jerusalem Temple produces trees with healing leaves. "Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."

Flowing Healing Waters

Flowing WaterJohn of Patmos is emphasizing here that the flowing water produces health and strength wherever it goes. Those who wash their robes are those who seek to purify themselves from a sinful way of life. This image is used again in Revelation when Christ invites anyone to come and drink of "the Water of Life." Salvation cannot be earned, but God gives it freely. We live in a world desperately thirsty for living water, and many are dying of thirst. Let us invite everyone to come and drink of the spiritual "water of life."✞

"Revelation Fruit Tree"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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